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'Barrel monster' gains following, from North Carolina to South Korea

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Barrel Monster, a playful statue made of orange and white construction barrels, only had a few hours of life but is basking in popularity as news spreads of its suspected creator's arrest by Raleigh police.

In the week since Joseph Carnevale, a student at North Carolina State University, was arrested June 10, both he and the Barrel Monster have attracted attention from around the country, and even the world.

The monster's image was broadcast on national television networks Thursday amid coverage of the mass street demonstrations in Iran to protest the disputed election there. An interview with Carnevale aired that afternoon on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," a national radio program.

Nearly 3,000 people have joined a page on Facebook, the social networking site, urging Wake prosecutors to drop the charges. The Barrel Monster, which was created under Carnevale's nom d'art, Uliveandyouburn, has hundreds of Internet admirers, some from as far away as Brazil and South Korea. The page includes a doctored photograph showing the monster standing in for Jack Ruby as the killer of President John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in an iconic image.

On May 31, the Barrel Monster made its appearance on Hillsborough Street near the school's campus, its hand pointing out to passing motorists and pedestrians next to a construction zone. But the monster also caught the attention of a patrolling Raleigh police officer, who seized the statue and began a criminal investigation.

Carnevale is now facing misdemeanor charges of larceny and damage to property. He's scheduled to be in court July 21.


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